Sidney Brownsberger

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the Massachusetts politician, see Will Brownsberger.
Sidney Brownsberger
Brownsberger sidney.jpg
1st President of Pacific Union College
In office
Preceded by Office created
Succeeded by William C. Grainger
Personal details
Alma mater University of Michigan
Profession College administrator
Religion Seventh-day Adventist

Sidney Brownsberger (born September 20, 1845, Perrysburg, Ohio; died August 13, 1930, Fletcher, North Carolina) was an American Seventh-day Adventist educator and administrator. He helped to develop Battle Creek College (now Andrews University) and later Healdsburg College (now Pacific Union College).

Early years[edit]

Sidney Brownsberger was the youngest of eight children born to the family of John and Barbara Brownsberger. Twelve years before Sidney was born, the family moved from southern Pennsylvania to Perrysburg, Ohio.[1]

In 1865, he completed preparatory studies at Baldwin University. In 1869, he enrolled in the University of Michigan to pursue a classical degree. graduating with an A.B.[2] [3] At the University of Michigan, Brownsberger served on the academic senate.[4]

While a student at Ann Arbor, he first heard of Seventh-day Adventists. He sent for all the literature printed by the church at the time. As a student he spent much of his spare time studying the Bible and the Adventist books he had acquired. Agreeing with what he read, without ever having seen a Seventh-day Adventist, he began keeping the Sabbath alone during his junior year in college in 1868.[5]

Brownsberger's early commitment to his newfound faith faltered. Looking back at those early years of struggling faith, he described the Holy Spirit striving with him telling him to stop trifling and be a man.[6] After his graduation he became superintendent of schools in Maumee, Ohio, and then superintendent of schools in Delta, Ohio.[3] It was here that he resumed his observance of the Sabbath. The following year (1873), Adventist church leaders invited him to head the fledgling school that had been established in Battle Creek, Michigan.[6]

Battle Creek College[edit]

Adventist interest in education began in the 1850s. James White wrote out reasons for the development of Church schools in the Review and Herald. The first school on record is one started at Buck's Bridge. Goodloe Bell began a school at Battle Creek [7] with the Kellogg and White children. When plans developed for a formal College, the organizers turned to Brownsberger. Goodloe Bell did not have the decree standing of Brownsberger.

In 1872, Ellen White had published her views on "Proper Education". She presented these to the board of the new school. Afterwards, people turned to Brownsberger for his reaction. He said he knew nothing about managing such a school; manual labor combined with education based on the Bible.

The board decided to start an ordinary school rather than one meeting Ellen White's recommendation.

Brownsberger would later observe that Ellen White's educational principles were so far advanced that no one understood how to implement them.

Healdsburg College[edit]

Disrupted marital life[edit]

While at Healdsburg College, Brownsberger's marriage broke down. His wife divorced him; he didn't contest the divorce. Sometime later he married his secretary. Willie White, Ellen G. White's son and assistant, commented about the difficult relationship Brownsberger had with his first wife. While in Australia, Ellen White wrote a letter to Haskell discussing Brownsberger's situation. She reported that he had confessed his wrong and that she believed that God had forgiven him. However, she expressed concern that his record would follow him. Otherwise, she would have invited him to come to Australia and work for the church there.[8][9]

Later years in North Carolina[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Johnsen 1976, p. 31
  2. ^ Burton 2010, p. 819
  3. ^ a b Land 2005
  4. ^ Catalogue of the academic senate of the University of Michigan and of those who have received its regular and honorary degrees. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan. 1871. p. 33. 
  5. ^ Shuler 1930
  6. ^ a b Johnsen 1976, p. 35
  7. ^ Greenleaf, Floyd (Summer 2005). "Timeline for Seventh-day Adventist Education" (PDF). Journal of Adventist Education. Silver Spring, MD.: General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. 67 (5): 10–15. Retrieved June 17, 2011. 
  8. ^ Marriage and Divorce and Problems Relating to the Violation of the Seventh Commandment, p. 5
  9. ^ The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, Chapter 122, To S.N. Haskell. p. 997.


  • Burton, Larry D. (2010). "Seventh-day Adventist Schools". In Hunt, Thomas C. Encyclopedia of Educational Reform and Dissent. 2. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage. pp. 818–820. 

External links[edit]